UOP breaks ground on facility to convert biomass to green transportation fuels

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has begun construction in Hawaii of a biofuels demonstration unit that will convert forest residuals, algae and other cellulosic biomass into green transportation fuels.

Backed by a $25 million Department of Energy (DOE) award, the Honeywell UOP Integrated Biorefinery will upgrade biomass into high-quality renewable gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The project is part of the DOE’s efforts to help spur the creation of the domestic biofuel industry, drive domestic job creation and reduce dependence on foreign oil. The project will also support the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative goal to achieve 70 percent clean energy by the year 2030.

Located at the Tesoro Corp. refinery in Kapolei, the Integrated Biorefinery will be used to demonstrate viability of the technology, test the fuels produced and evaluate the environmental footprint of the fuels and the process technology. The project, which will generate more than 80 new jobs during construction, is scheduled to begin initial production in 2012. It is expected to be fully operational by 2014.

Once successfully proven in this demonstration unit, a commercial-scale facility using the same technology could produce as much as 50 million gallons of drop-in green transportation fuels per year, and could create as many as 800 new construction jobs and 1,000 new jobs in biomass production and refinery operations.

The demonstration unit will utilize the RTP® rapid thermal processing technology to rapidly convert biomass into a pourable, liquid biofuel. This liquid biofuel will then be upgraded to green transportation fuels using hydroprocessing technology from Honeywell’s UOP.

Honeywell’s UOP offers technologies that convert natural oils and plant biomass to fuels. Since launching its efforts in renewable energy and chemicals in 2007, the company has commercialized the UOP/Eni Ecofining™ technology for the production of Honeywell Green Diesel™ and the UOP Renewable Jet process for the production of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™.

In 2008, UOP partnered with Ensyn Corp. to form a joint venture business, Envergent Technologies LLC, to offer RTP technology and equipment.